Author: tristanenglishblog

The Innocence of Adnan Syed

Hae (Top) Adnan (Bottom)

After finishing the podcast “Serial” the question still stands, is Adnan Syed innocent? Sarah Koenig spent over a year investigating whether Adnan was innocent or not, and by the end she still could not decide. There are three pieces of evidence that stand out to me that prove Adnan’s innocence. There are too many holes in Jay’s story, Asia’s story of Adnan being in the library at the time of the murder, and how we can dispel the “Nisha call”


Jay’s Story

Jay Wilds

Jay, the main witness during the trials, has many holes in his story of that day. Many of these holes are never brought up during trial and are simply overlooked or forgotten. Jay is known by his friends as a liar, during an interview with Josh, Jay’s friend he said, “its not that he bragged about stuff that he did, sometimes he made up things that he didn’t do” (Koenig). During that same interview Josh also said that he, “never entirely understood why Jay would help Adnan bury Hae” (Koenig). With the way Josh was speaking, it made me think that he did not believe Jay and thought that he was making up the story. Another hole in Jay’s story is revealed after Koenig investigates the supposed payphone at Best Buy. It is revealed that there was no payphone in the parking lot of Best Buy, it was in the store. This is a huge difference because that is more time added on to the 21 minutes it supposedly took Adnan to leave school, kill Hae and call Jay. Knowing that Jay is prone to lying, it makes me ask the question, “is any of Jay’s story true? did he kill Hae?”


Asia’s Story

One of the biggest pieces of evidence that was overlooked by the investigators, was Asia’s story. Asia claims that she and Adnan were in the public library talking, at the time that Hae was supposedly being killed. This piece of evidence was never brought up in court

Image result for asia mcclain serial
Asia McClain

and could have potentially saved Adnan. To this day Asia still says that, “She stands by her memories of seeing Adnan that January afternoon in the public library and she stands by her affidavit” (Koenig). There is no possible way for Adnan to be in two place at once. This is important because Asia’s affidavit claims that, her, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s friend all saw Adnan in the library that day and that there is no possible way for him to have killed Hae at that time.


The “Nisha Call”

This last piece of evidence is a rather important one. The “Nisha call” as it is called by Koenig, is a big piece of evidence against Adnan. This call puts Adnan with his phone at the correct time that Jay claims and if the call was made by Adnan, it means that most of the rest of Jay’s story must be true. But, there is a big problem with the call, Adnan claims that he didn’t have his phone at this time, and he also claims that Nisha’s number was on speed dial. Adnan says that it must have been a “butt dial” (Koenig). At first I thought Adnan must be lying, but after Koenig brought up that,“AT&T wont charge for unanswered calls, unless the call isn’t terminated (this includes unanswered calls) within a ‘reasonable time’” (Koenig), I now think otherwise. Nisha claims that she did not have an answering machine, so if it was a butt dial, then the phone would keep ringing and the charge would show up on his bill. The charge on the bill showed the call lasted 2 minutes, this puts it well past the 60 second “reasonable time” stated in a contract from 1999.

The Power of Three

Any one of theses pieces of evidence on their own is not enough to create doubt, however the power of all three pieces together provide enough doubt to suggest Adnan’s innocence. Jay’s history of lying, Asia’s story, and the “Nisha call” all suggest that there is no possible way that Adnan could be where he needed to be to commit the murder. For these reasons, I believe Adnan is innocent and that he was wrongly convicted.


Works Cited

Koenig, Sarah. “What We Know.” Audio blog post. Serial. This American Life. 2014. Web. 28 July 2017. <;.


Why I Love Serial

My Serial obsession turned into a poster design
Serial (Imgur)

Serial is a podcast about the murder of a teenage girl by the name of Hae Min Lee, and whether the suspected murderer, Adnan Syed, is rightfully in jail. As this is my first time listening to a podcast I was a little bit sceptical of how good it could be, but after finishing the first episode, I loved it. The narrator speaks like she is in a conversation with you, it is very relaxed and not to intense so I was able to listen to it all in one go without being bored. And the fact that it’s a podcast allowed me to listen to it while doing other things and still get the full effect of the story. For example, while I was listening to the podcast I was playing video games and at one point I was listening to it on my phone while walking around. If this story was a book, I would not be playing video games, it would be nearly impossible and as someone who is a very slow reader it would take me a few hours to finish it. I also

Image result for serial podcast
Hae Min (Left) Adnan (Right)

believe that because this is a podcast and a story with many people of different races, that is takes away any racist preconceptions that listeners may have, allowing the listener to form their own opinion by what someone is saying and not by what someone looks like.

The podcast opens on the topic of memory and how no matter how good you think your memory is, there are just some things that you can’t remember. She starts by asking a group of teenagers what they did on this exact day six weeks ago. All of them couldn’t fully remember, most of them would say “I most likely did this”, or would flipflop on whether they were at school, work, or at home. I think that this is a great opener for the podcast, it really sets the tone. Throughout the podcast when you listen to people talk you are left asking yourself, “How do they remember this?” or “Is what they’re saying the truth, or is it a lie?”. This really adds to the podcast. Instead of idly listening to the podcast the listener is left with these burning questions in the back of their mind.

After finishing the podcast, I wondered if Hae’s family was happy that this podcast got so popular, and the story of her death revived. But judging by the fact that none of Hae’s family spoke in the podcast, made me think otherwise. If Hae’s family still hadn’t got over her death and this podcast got the topic on people’s minds again, I assume they would be upset and would not want to take part in the podcast.

Image result for adnan syed in jail
Adnan Syed

However, if this podcast was to bring up evidence that would prove Adnan innocent and the correct person guilty, I feel Hae’s family would be very happy that justice has been properly served.

Overall, I really liked this podcast. The fact that the narrator went out and researched and recorded this, really is what makes the podcast great. Instead of reading some facts and testimonies off a paper the audience gets to listen to the people that were part of the case and what they have to say about what happened. It adds emotion to the podcast and allows the listeners to form their own opinions on the people that are speaking and in the end, allows them to decide for themselves whether Adnan is innocent or not.


Works Cited

Koenig, Sarah. “The Alibi”. Audio Blog Post. Serial Podcast. This American Life. 2014. July  21 2017

The Professor and the Madman from a Feminist Perspective

Works Cited

Fawcett. “Equality. It’s about Time.” Fawcett. Fawcett, 2016. Web. 20 July 2017. <;.
Hughes, Kathryn. “Gender Roles in the 19th Century.” The British Library. The British Library, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 20 July 2017. <;.
Winchester, Simon. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. Print.

The Professor and the Madman through an Archetypal Lens

The Professor and the Madman

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester, is a book about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. The book tells the real life story of two men, Professor James Murray and Dr. William Minor, and how they came together to create the Oxford English Dictionary, which at the time, seemed impossible. After reading half of the book, there are three archetype characters that come to mind: the creator, the mentor, and the everyman.

Dr. William Minor was born on the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in June 1834. After many years, he made his way to the United States, where he studied medicine at Yale University. After graduating with a degree and specialization in comparative anatomy, Dr. Minor applied to the Union army as a surgeon. They say that what made Dr. Minor go crazy was that he was forced to brand a Irish deserter, “he pressed the glowing metal onto the Irishman’s cheek. The flesh sizzled, the blood bubbled and steamed; the prisoner screamed and screamed” (Winchester 61). After being released from an insane asylum, Dr. Minor decided that he wanted to, “rest, read, paint”, and planned to stay a year in Europe (Winchester 73). When in England, Dr. Minor shot and killed a man and was again deemed insane, and again sent to an asylum, where he remains. I think that Dr. William Minor is an example of the everyman archetype. I think this because he is an

The ordinary man

ordinary man, who was a surgeon, that becomes insane because of extreme circumstances. Dr. Minor is force to brand an Irish deserter and shows clears signs of not wanting to do it, “he hesitated for a moment–a hesitation that betrayed his own reluctance–for was this, he wondered briefly, truly permitted under the terms of his Hippocratic oath? The officers grunted for him to continue” (Winchester 61). While in the asylum, Dr. Minor received an offer from Professor James Murray, that asks for volunteers to send in words that they have come across and the sentences from which they saw them. With Dr. Minor, being bored, I assume he will take him up on his offer, but I don’t know as I haven’t read that far. I think that in the future I will be able to classify Dr. Minor as a hero archetype, because I think that he will help Professor Murray and will have to overcome many obstacles, with him being in an insane asylum.

I think that Professor James Murray is the creator and mentor archetype. I think this

The Creator

because, it is said that he once invented “water wings made from bundles of pond iris, he tied them to his arms but was turned upside down by more buoyancy than he calculated, and would have drowned had not his friends rescued him by pulling him from the lake with his five-foot-long bow tie” (Winchester 34). Murray is also very intelligent by the age of seventeen he was, “an assistant headmaster, eagerly passing on the knowledge that he had so keenly amassed; by twenty he was a full-fledged headmaster of the local subscription academy” (Winchester 34). He is also able to speak many languages, “I possess a general acquaintance with the languages & literature of the Aryan and Syro-Arabic classes…I have a more intimate acquaintance as with the Romance tongues, Italian, French, Catalan, Spanish, Latin & in a less degree Portuguese, Vaudois, Provençal and various dialects. In the Teutonic branch, i am tolerably familiar with Dutch, Flemish, German, Danish” (Winchester 36-37). Professor Murray also, is the lead for the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. This is an enormous task but as a creator would say “if it can be imagined, it can be created” (Hudnall). I think that as the books progresses, Professor James Murray will become more of a mentor, as I think he and Dr. Minor will come together, and Murray will have to teach Minor how to do things related to creating a dictionary.

Therefore I think that there is three main archetypes within the book and I think that in the future there will be four. I think that Dr. Minor is the everyman archetype now and will become the hero later in the book, as the story progress, but it is to early to tell. I also think that Professor James Murray is the mentor and creator archetype and will become solely a mentor in the future, as I think he will have to aid Dr. Minor in getting out of the asylum and with helping create the dictionary.

Works Cited

Hudnall, Ariel. “Archetypes: Creator.” Memoirs of a Time Here-After. N.p., 28 June 2015. Web. 12 July 2017. <;.

Winchester, Simon. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 2016. Print.

Should ENG4U be mandatory for University?

University of Kent

Going into grade 12, many people are planning to go to university and that requires grade 12 University English. But, have you ever thought about if you should even have to take grade 12 University English?  I think that grade 12 University English should be mandatory for all universities and heres why. The skills taught in ENG4U are imperative to succeeding in university and in the workforce. Some students will become doctors, lawyers, and politicians, and they will quickly realize that they are outmatched in their field by the people around them if they can’t communicate effectively and professionally.

Throughout your time in university, you will have to do some kind of writing, be it a research report, lab report, or essay, you will have to do it. With majors in English, you will have to write essay after essay and will need to know how to effectively and efficiently write down your ideas in order to stay on top of your work. Even in programs that have seemingly nothing to do with English, you will have to write in some form or another. For example, if you wish to do a program in Music at the University of Waterloo, only 40% of your courseswill be music related, the other 60% are electives, and within those electives you will have to write some kind of report (UWaterloo).

Music program information (Waterloo)

Even within the program itself, an English course is required. For the University of Waterloo, students who take a program related to Music must take ENGL 109 in their first year (UWaterloo).


With so many students finishing school every year, getting a job within your field of study is difficult. You need to be able to set yourself apart from the others. With the skills learned in ENG4U, you will be able to better communicate in your writings. Therefore when you go to write a resume and cover letter, yours will stand out amongst the rest and the chances of you landing that interview for your dream job will increase.

In university, no one will be there to hold your hand through every assignment, you will need to know how to think critically and work independently to finish assignments properly and on time. Which are skills that are acquired through taking ENG4U.

Students without the skills taught in ENG4U will not be able to effectively communicate and therefore will struggle throughout their time in university. That is why I think grade 12 University English should be mandatory to be accepted into university.


Works citied

“Music at Waterloo.” Undergraduate Admissions. University of Waterloo, 18 Apr. 2017. Web. 05 July 2017. <;.